Tag Archives: Daggett
On this hot 110 degree Saturday my wife and decided to head on out towards Barstow, CA to hop on Historic Route 66. We’ve driven this route many times in the past, but it had been a couple of years since our last visit. On this particular trip I had found directions to some “off the beaten path” places which included the ghost towns of Ragtown, Stedman, Bagdad, and Providence. More on them as we get to them.
We started our journey down Route 66 via the Nebo Road exit off of I-40 right outside of Barstow. Within minutes of getting on “the mother road” my wife spots ruins from a building on the right hand side of the road between 66 and 40. I’m surprised we had never noticed this before, I believe it may be that usually don’t get onto Route 66 unit the Daggett exit just a few miles up. We stopped and hiked out into the desert landscape to find two old, stone buildings that are partially still standing, along with a good amount of stone walls standing along the outside of the one building. Around the area there are a number of foundations, what look like dug out cellars, as well as what appear to be potential unmarked graves but it’s not possible to be sure. I’m not sure if this area has a name, as I can’t find anything on this place online. It may be considered part of Daggett which is just a couple of miles up the road.
When you pull into the town of Daggett it’s quite clear that this is the place that time has forgotten. I don’t say that in a negative way as there is plenty of things in the modern world that I’d happily do without. Daggett, once known as Calico Junction was a bustling silver mining town as well as the terminal for the 20 Mule Team run from Death Valley. The town’s population at the 2000 census was 200, I’d guess that number is smaller today based on the number of boarded up homes we encountered when driving up and down the few town blocks. The only store we came across in the town was a small general store. The area around the town of Daggett seems to have a little more going for it as the home of the Barstow area Airport as well the home of solar and experimental energy plant.
About a half mile down Route 66 from the town, we came across the “Daggett Pioneer Cemetery”. We drive a small piece down the dirt road entrance to find the most well kept and preserved old west cemeteries we have ever come across. Each known grave is marked with a medium sized cross if there isn’t a marker already in place. A number of grave sites have relatively newer tombstones that have been added in recent years for the not so recently deceased. The fewer newer resting places have been kept within the traditional look of the old west burials. Kudos to Daggett and their cemetery care taker for preserving this part of the old west in such a way.
We then continue on our drive down route 66 heading toward Ludlow. Along the 44 mile drive, we pass through the town of Newberry Springs. We didn’t stop however, as nothing really peaked our interest. Newberry Springs is the home of the fake Bagdad Cafe. The original Bagdad Cafe was located in the ghost town of Bagdad, but is now nothing more than a foundation.
I was excited to get to Ludlow because the directions to get to both Ragtown and Stedman required me to find the old cemetery and railroad tracks to be able to find the 11 mile dirt road leading out to the rarely visited ghost towns. Before beginning our hunt for the old cemetery, we stop and have our packed Subway lunch from back home. Once finished, we continue into the old town section of Ludlow. A number of abandoned structures that had been homes and businesses are scattered throughout. We make our way up to the railroad tracks and drive along the road beside. We spot the old town graveyard across the tracks, and continue on looking for a road to cross the tracks. We came up empty handed so I decided to walk across the tracks to the cemetery see if I could spot how we could get across. I come up empty handed. We spend the next bit of time driving around the area to figure out how to get across…we never could find a way. Sadly, Ragtown and Stedman were not visited on this day.
Ludlow is currently listed as having a population of 10, with about 5 households. The town was founded in 1883, and was primarily used as a water stop along the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad, bringing borax and other mining products from Death Valley and Beatty, Nevada to long distance Santa Fe Railway lines. Ore was found in the area in the early 1900′s which lead to a short lived mining boom. In the 1940′s Ludlow saw a revival as a stop along what is now known as Historical Route 66, providing services to travelers passing through. What is now considered the “new Ludlow” consists of two modern gas stations (one with a Dairy Queen inside), a café, motel and an automotive repair shop to serve travelers of the highly traveled interstate I-40.